Hi everybody. It has been about 6 months since I last wrote to you. For those of you who aren’t also FB friends with me and the kind of people I see every week or two, the reason for this has been that I’ve been doing a lot of academic tutoring, looking for a permanent job, and generally being too stressed to feel like I have anything interesting or useful to say. But it has been 6 months, and I feel like I have dance related things to talk about again. So here goes.
PS: My only regret is that I didn’t get around to this before the conscription date of a certain someone in Israel.
As for the Ball. This year was… beautiful, painful, wonderful, terrible, amazing… All of these things at once and many other things to me.
Even though this is the second year in a row that I haven’t worked the ball, I still have all the impulses of running it. When things went… not as smoothly as I would have liked, I winced and panicked. I wanted to fix it, even though it was not my job. And yet, the feelings brought back fond memories of being busy with something I am passionate about. Most of my friends think I am nuts for missing the stress and chaos. I describe it as it was first described to me — I have an adrenaline addiction.
What made the night so wonderful was the people I met. The ball brings together a crowd of people that are never in the same room for any other event. We have Stanford Alumni that have moved away, or moved on from the dance scene that pop back up with amazing stories and new perspectives. We have current students from Stanford and community members from the East bay in the same room. We have strangers I’ve never met before, who are mesmerizing to watch dance. The blend of people is like a buffet for an extrovert like me. I particularly relished the chance to catch up with a very dear friend who unknowingly cemented my obsession with dance in my sophomore year, but has kind of dropped off the face of my planet since moving to Santa Cruz. (So far away, I know.)
That said, the night was not all roses and glitter. For a long time, I didn’t think I would even be able to go to the ball. I don’t make a lot of money as an academic tutor. January was slow. A 50$ ticket plus dinner in the city was distinctly beyond my budget. It would blow my entertainment allotment for two whole months, and I’d already made commitments to go to Gaskells, which would be half my budget. I cried myself to sleep a couple of times over the knowledge that I couldn’t go. It wasn’t about wanting or not wanting to go to the ball. Of course I wanted to go. No, it was about not being able to afford to go to the ball. I don’t know if you can understand the distinction, but the shame i felt at not being able to make enough money to do the things I wanted was overwhelming. It’s not so much that I wanted to go to the ball, but that I wanted to be able to afford to go to the ball.
As the ball approached, I had 3 different offers of ways to make the ball affordable to me. My pride burned that I couldn’t do it myself. My heart ached that I had so many people willing to help. My self worth crashed through what I thought as rock bottom into another free fall. I finally accepted help and went to the ball. And so every minute at the ball was tinged with the knowledge that I wouldn’t be there if I hadn’t had help. Of the direct, unavoidable, “you didn’t have to–but i wanted to”, I owe you so much and will never be able to repay you, variety.
And so, overall I would call the Viennese Ball 2013 enjoyable, but not carefree. Here’s to hoping 2014 will be different, one way or another. 😉